BEST AREAS FOR WILDERNESS CAMPING
NEZ PERCE NATIONAL FOREST
Located in north-central Idaho, this huge National Forest encloses an area of high, rugged mountains and deep canyons. Included is 6,600-foot-deep Hells Canyon on the Snake River, said to be the deepest gorge in the country. Also here are the Selway and Salmon National Wild and Scenic Rivers.
There are many mountain lakes and scores of streams, areas of subalpine vegetation at higher elevations, and forests of ponderosa pine and Douglas fir. Wildlife includes elk, moose, whitetailed and mule deer, black bear, bighorn sheep, and mountain lion.
Nez Perce has four designated wilderness areas: 560,000 acres of the 1,340,000-acre Selway-Bitter-root Wilderness, 105,000 acres of the 2,360,000-acre Frank ChurchRiver of No Return Wilderness, the 206,000-acre Gospel Hump Wilderness, and 34,000 acres of the Hells Canyon Wilderness.
Activities: Backpacking and hiking are available on about 2,600 miles of trails. Difficulty ranges from easy to very strenuous. Trails at high elevations are usually snow-free only from mid-July through September.
Horseback riding is allowed on many trails, as is mountain biking on most trails outside of wilderness areas. Cross-country skiing is possible here during the snow season.
Rafting, canoeing, and kayaking are available on the Selway, Salmon, Snake, and other major rivers in the region. A permit is required to run the Snake River in Hell’s Canyon. There are also many
possibilities for fishing. Hunting is permitted in season.
Camping Regulations: Camping is allowed throughout the National Forest, as are campfires, except near public recreation areas or where otherwise prohibited. No permits are necessary.
For Further Information: Nez Perce National Forest, Route 2, Box 475, Grangeville, ID 83530; (208)983-1950.
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